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PICTURE SPECIAL AND VIDEO: World War II Burma veteran Jack Mills leads Remembrance Day observance in Holbeach

A World War II veteran who survived the horrors of the Burma Campaign took pride of place on Remembrance Day in Holbeach.

Jack Mills (96), a qualified surveyor who joined up as a RAF Reservist aged 19 and fought in conflict which lasted from 1941 to 1945, watched as the generations that followed him paid their respects to the town's fallen on Sunday.

Members of Holbeach's Royal British Legion branch, 2430 (Squadron) RAF Air Cadets, Holbeach Detachment Army Cadet Force and schoolchildren marched from the town's community centre in Fishpond Lane to All Saints Church for a Remembrance Day service led by the Vicar of Holbeach, the Rev Rosamund Seal.

A child lays a wreath at Holbeach War Memorial outside All Saints Church.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-111118-179TW
A child lays a wreath at Holbeach War Memorial outside All Saints Church.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-111118-179TW

She said: "There was a higher attendance this year as it was the centenary of the Armistice to end World War I.

"We were packed to capacity inside the church where we had a 'Tommy' figure, lent to us by Holbeach Cemetery Chapels Trust, next to the War Memorial.

"We were also given ten more of the figures by the Armed Forces Memorial Fund which were situated around the church, along with a biography of some of the soldiers from Holbeach.

"Instead of preaching a sermon, we had the soldiers' stories read out at different points in the service, along with poems written by children from Holbeach Primary Academy, Holbeach Bank Academy and William Stukeley Primary School.

"They were delightful poems and the day went very well."

Coun Paul Foyster, chairman of Holbeach Parish Council, said: "I was very pleased with the parade and there was a big turnout of veterans, serving military and residents who always attend to honour our war dead.

"But with this being a special year, I was really thrilled to see so many groups of young people who did ever so well, both on parade and with the readings during what was a very moving church service.

"I don't think I've seen the amount of people who were around the War Memorial and service, with Army and Air Cadets, Scouts from the younger and older groups, schools and others all involved.

"They all behaved impeccably and did so well on what was a cold and, for the smaller ones no doubt, a long afternoon.

"Their parents and adult group leaders are to be congratulated but, of course, the children and young people were the stars.

"Our town is proud of you and I know the future of these events will be in good hands."

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